Kevin Costner’s Best And Sexiest Movie Is Streaming Right Now

By Michileen Martin | Published

kevin costner

Considering it’s the one film for which Kevin Costner was nominated and/or won any oscars, you might understandably think that critics say the actor’s best film is the 1990 Western epic Dances with Wolves. Barring that you might guess 1989’s now iconic classic Field of Dreams, or perhaps the conspiracy fueled 1991 historical thriller JFK. But no — judging by the aggregate critics score on Rotten Tomatoes, Costner’s best flick belongs to perhaps the most unexpected genre. With a 97% rating, the collective verdict of reviewers is that the Yellowstone star’s best movie is the 1988 sports rom-com Bull Durham. If you happen to be an Amazon Prime Video subscriber, you can catch it streaming right now.

kevin costner tim robbins
Tim Robbins and Kevin Costner in Bull Durham (1988)

In Durham, North Carolina, the single-A baseball team the Durham Bulls are once again suffering through the worst kind of season: no one’s coming to see their games, and if they did it would only be to see the Bulls dealt one loss after another. But the Bulls have one ray of hope — they manage to recruit Ebby Calvin LaLoosh (Tim Robbins) who has the pitching arm of a champion and the relative IQ of a walnut. To try to rein in Ebby’s wild arm, Crash Davis (Kevin Costner) is brought into the fold, but the decade-plus minor-league veteran has a tough time getting along with the rookie he’s been paired with.

As if their clashing personalities didn’t make enough friction on their own, a new complication gets added when both Ebby and Crash catch the attention of the baseball groupie Annie (Susan Sarandon), who is known for annually selecting a new lover from the single-A league. Crash, not interested in competing over Annie, leaves her to Ebby — who Annie soon nicknames “Nuke” — and separately, in their own ways, both Crash and Annie begin teaching the volatile player to grow up a little bit.

Bull Durham was written and directed by Ron Shelton, who would go on to create other sports-related films including 1994’s Cobb and reuniting with Kevin Costner for another sports rom-com — 1996’s Tin Cup. Perhaps his best known film is 1992’s White Men Can’t Jump which proved, if nothing else, that both Wesley Snipes and Woody Harrelson could make great comedy.

Susan Sarandon and Kevin Costner in Bull Durham (1988)

Kevin Costner was already a star by the time Bull Durham hit theaters — with films like Silverado and The Untouchables already under his belt — but the sports rom-com came just before the actor would strike true cultural gold with classics like Field of Dreams and Dances with Wolves. Sarandon was at a similar point in her career, having just made The Witches of Eastwick and a few years away from the feminist touchstone Thelma & Louise. For Tim Robbins, however, Bull Durham proved to be his breakout role. Before that he’d had relatively small roles in flicks like Top Gun, and a larger role in the bad idea now known as 1986’s Howard the Duck. The early ’90s would find him in cult classics like Jacob’s Ladder and The Player.

The Kevin Costner rom-com was nominated for an Oscar for Best Screenplay, though it lost to the Tom Cruise/Dustin Hoffman drama Rain Man. While it might not have taken any statues home, it’s still considered one of the most perfectly delivered romantic comedies in the history of cinema, and definitely one of the sexiest. It’s all over lists of films ranked for humor, sex appeal, or sports; including the American Film Institute who named it one of the ten best sports films, Sports Illustrated who named it the #1 sports movie, and Bravo who calls it one of the 100 funniest movies of all time.

Ron Shelton has apparently considered bringing Kevin Costner and the rest of the stars back for a follow-up. In 2008 he told the Southern Ledger that he was intrigued by the idea of what happened to the various characters years later. It’s been 34 years so a Bull Durham 2 set in the present day would no doubt have neither Costner nor Robbins’ characters still playing baseball, but you never know. With revivals all the rage these days — including the stellar performance of Top Gun: Maverick — we could very well see a Bull Durham 2 or Bull Durham: Nuke or Bull Durham: Crash & Nuke or something along those lines in the near future. Until then, if you want to check out the original, it’s streaming now on Amazon Prime Video.